Before implementing the NCI-SRD Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP) in the municipality of Castilla in Sorsogon, the area was surrounded by communities composed ofupland dwellers, farmers, and fisherfolk who were considered adequately poor and lacking environmental awareness. The people were not trained to follow proper solid waste disposal protocols and were prone to practice illegal logging. Farmers were also not receptive to new agricultural technologies to improve their production, thus affecting their income.
On 12 February 2018, the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Interior and Local Government (DILG), along with the 13 barangays, presented the draft CADP to the local government unit (LGU) of Castilla. Approved on the same day, the Pili Watershed CADP was officially launched on 29 August 2018.
Pili watershed in Sitio Minanticaan covers 13 barangays in the municipality of Castilla. It is located in the barangays of Canjela, Maypangi, La Union, Milagrosa, San Isidro, San Rafael, Maracabac, Monte Carmelo, Oras, Dancalan, Poblacion, Bagalayad and Libtong. The river systems of Pili and Malbog comprises the watershed.
To improve the lives of the communities and protect their natural resources from further degradation, DA-DAR-DENR-DILG started to implement their existing projects and programs to the beneficiaries in Castilla.
The DA conducted training on mushroom production and recently partnered with the Bicol University in introducing new pili propagation techniques to farmers and students. They also distributed assorted vegetable seeds, camote cuttings, cassava stalks, palay seeds, corn, corn sheller, garden tools, fertilizers, native chickens, and swine.
The communities of Maypangi and Canjela participated in the tree planting activities of the DENR, while the DILG implemented their Saline Tubig Project in the barangays of Libtong and Bagalayag.
Aside from these initiatives of the NCI-SRD agencies, the LGU of Castilla participated in monitoring, assisting, and evaluating the communities to sustain the program. Because of the close coordination and consistent communication with the LGU, regional representatives of the national agencies shared that the implementation of their programs in the communities sailed smoothly, and the beneficiaries were grateful and open for change.
Castilla Municipal Mayor Isagani D. Mendoza related that the progress of the 13 barangays would continue to soar with the proposed construction of a farm-to-market road, a steady potable water supply, and an efficient irrigation structure. “Dati, hirap ang aking mga kabarangay, pero dahil sa pagsasama-sama at tulong ng mga ahensya, unti-unti ng gumiginhawa ang aming pamumuhay, at wala ng illegal logging dahil alam na nila ang masamang epekto nito sa kapaligiran at sa kanilang buhay,” shared Barangay Maypangi chief Florenia L. Balaquiao.